Pi­lots must qual­ify to land in haze

Com­pe­tence in use of in­stru­ments to be re­quired for flights into Bei­jing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By ZHAO LEI zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Many pi­lots fly­ing sched­uled air­lin­ers in China must be­come qual­i­fied to land in poor vis­i­bil­ity if they want to fly to Bei­jing next year.

Start­ing on Jan 1, pi­lots of flights from the top 10 busiest air­ports to Bei­jing Cap­i­tal In­ter­na­tional Air­port must be qual­i­fied to land us­ing an in­stru­ment- land­ing sys­tem on hazy days with vis­i­bil­ity of around 400 me­ters, ac­cord­ing to the Civil Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion of China.

“It is part of a se­ries of mea­sures the ad­min­is­tra­tion took re­cently to raise the flights’ on­time per­for­mance,” a source at the ad­min­is­tra­tion said on con­di­tion of anonymity.

In­stru­ment-land­ing sys­tems guide ap­proach­ing air­craft through a com­bi­na­tion of ra­dio sig­nals and, of­ten, high-in­ten­sity light­ing ar­rays to safe land­ings when vis­i­bil­ity is poor due to fog, rain, or blow­ing snow. Pi­lots com­monly use the sys­tem if vis­i­bil­ity is less than 800 me­ters. Only a hand­ful of air­ports in China, such as those in Bei­jing, Shang­hai, Guangzhou and Xi’an, have such fa­cil­i­ties.

Ouyang Jie, a pro­fes­sor of air­port re­search at Civil Avi­a­tion Univer­sity of China, said the move aims to han­dle flight de­lay prob­lems cre­ated by the in­creas­ing oc­cur­rence of smog and haze in Chi­nese cities.

“Con­sid­er­ing that the re­cent smog and haze has brought nu­mer­ous trou­bles to air trans­port in east­ern and south­ern re­gions, it seems nec­es­sary for au­thor­i­ties to ask pi­lots to im­prove their land­ing ca­pa­bil­ity in low vis­i­bil­ity,” he said.

Liu Jun, a spokesman for Shang­hai-based Juneyao Air­lines, said an in­stru­ment land­ing can only be achieved af­ter the air­port, air­plane and pi­lot all meet spe­cific re­quire­ments. It means in ad­di­tion to train­ing pi­lots, air­lines and air­ports also need to check whether their air­craft and fa­cil­i­ties match such re­quire­ments.

A se­nior pi­lot at China South­ern said on con­di­tion of anonymity that it is not dif­fi­cult for pi­lots to pass in­stru­ment­land­ing sys­tem tests. “The big­gest con­cern for air­lines and air­ports would be the cost of re­fit­ting their air­craft and air­port fa­cil­i­ties,” he said.

About 80 per­cent of the pi­lots at Spring Air­lines, half of China East­ern and most of Juneyao Air­lines pi­lots have re­ceived the train­ing, me­dia re­ports said.

Large parts of China have seen foggy or smoggy weather this month,which led to se­ri­ous flight de­lays, ground­ing tens of thou­sands of pas­sen­gers. Xie Yu in Shang­hai and Wang Wen in Bei­jing con­trib­uted to this story.


Bei­jing Cap­i­tal In­ter­na­tional Air­port was shrouded by smog in July. Pi­lots op­er­at­ing from 10 busy air­ports to Bei­jing must be cer­ti­fied to land in poor con­di­tions start­ing next year.

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